-== Ultraportable Hack Box (Hector) ==-
My quest to assemble a portable computer .

2008-01 thru 2008-02

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This project is the creation, assembly, and setup of a laptop-like machine for me to use for my own needs. Computers on the market either don't quite fit my needs or are too expensive. I also have a lot of equipment around that can be repurposed, and that's what I'm doing.

In December of 2007, I was not sure whether to get an iPod Touch or wait for the rumored Apple subnotebook. I got the Touch, and when the "MacBook Air" was released in January of 2008, at first I was regretting the Touch purchase, but as I read more about the capabilities of the Air, and doing much with iPod Touch jailbreaks and such I realized that I had in fact made the correct decision, since the Air does not suit my needs, and is VERY expensive

The current gameplan for this is to base it on my IBM Workpad z50. I purchased the z50 at the Rochester HamFest for $50 a bunch of years back. It is a MIPS based computer, running Windows CE, with a 95% sized Thinkpad-like keyboard. This means the keyboard feels nearly perfect. The screen is a dual-scan 640x480 , LED backlit color display. I have two high capacity batteries for it, as well as the AA-based battery pack. Each of the batteries can last about 20 hours on a charge of standard usage. The device has a CF slot, a Cardbus slot, a custom connector for serial, standard VGA capable of 800x600, and one of those eraser nub pointing devices. It's small too. It's a bit larger than something like an Mitsubishi Amity, but smaller than a 12" PowerBook G4. It's probably on par with the old Apple Macintosh PowerBook Duo machines.

It's quite a useful machine with the stock Windows CE/pocket office suite that it has. It can do voice recordings, take notes, display power point, and such, but it's not entirely useful to me in this configuration. What I really need is something that I can sit down with, write some code, perhaps do test compiles, and interact with my SVN repositories elsewhere on the net.

I picked up a 4gig CF card, and a D-Link wireless Cardbus card. Both of these are supported by NetBSD. I soon will be installing HPCMIPS NetBSD 3.1 on it, and then all of the subsequent configurations to get X11, network and such working on it.

Current State: Done For Now
Updated: 2006-08-17

Scott Lawrence